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ANNUAL STATISTICS


 
 

Our publication covers movements in the death row population in India as well as political and legal developments in the administration of the death penalty and the criminal justice system. The statistics is compiled through a combination of processes such as data mining of court websites, media monitoring and Right to Information applications.

 
 

Introduction 


 
 

The ‘Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics’ attempts to create a comprehensive year-by-year documentation of movements in the death row population in India. The publication tracks important political and legal developments in the administration of the death penalty and the criminal justice system in the year 2017.

A total of 200 applications were filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTIs) covering all prisoner and home departments, High Courts, and Governor’s Offices across India to collect information on death row prisoners. High Court and Supreme Court websites were regularly mined to track movements in cases. In addition, applications were made to the State Legal Services Authority of every state to further verify mined information.

 
 
 
 
 
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399

Total number of Prisoners on Death Row as on 31st December 2016

371 

Total number of Prisoners on Death Row as on 31st December 2017

 
 
 
 

Statistics


 
 

Prisoners sentence to death in 2017

2017 saw a decline in both the total number of death row prisoners in India, as well as the number of prisoners sentenced to death by trial courts in the year. While in 2016, 149 prisoners were sentenced to death, 2017 saw a 27% decline with 109 prisoners being sentenced to death.

 
 

Total number of prisoners under the sentence of death in 2017

With 371 death row prisoners, 2017 saw a downward trend in the total number of death row prisoners, as well. 2017 not only saw fewer instances of imposition of the death sentence but also more acquittals and commutations by the various High Courts. There were 53 commutations by the High Court, as opposed to 44 commutations in 2016, and 35 acquittals which is significantly higher than the 14 High Court acquittals in the previous year.

 
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Nature of Crime in 2017


 
 

The data on the nature of crime of those sentenced to death in 2017 has been categorised into murder simpliciter (includes cases where the prisoners were convicted only for murder), murder involving sexual violence, terror offences, dacoity and murder, robbery and murder, kidnapping and murder, rioting and murder, and drug offences. An analysis of the nature of crimes for which persons were sentenced to death reveals that murder simpliciter and murder involving sexual violence constituted 74% of the total crimes for which the death penalty was imposed in 2016, and 86% of the total crimes for which the death penalty was imposed in 2017.

 
 
 

Death Warrants in 2017


In August 2017, death warrants were issued by the 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Jabalpur against two prisoners, Raja and Rajesh Yadav, whose criminal appeals are currently pending in the Supreme Court. Earlier that month, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had confirmed their death sentences. Similarly, in 2016, death warrants were issued for the execution of five prisoners before they had exhausted all their legal options.

 
 

Contributors

 

 
 

Analysis and Writing

Peter John

Poornima Rajeshwar

Rahul Raman

 
 
 

Research Assistants

Kali Srikari Kancherla

Pritam Raman Giriya

Varsha Sharma